Understanding within-session loss-chasing: an experimental investigation of the impact of stake size on cognitive control

Parke, Adrian, Harris, Andrew, Parke, Jonathan and Goddard, Paul (2016) Understanding within-session loss-chasing: an experimental investigation of the impact of stake size on cognitive control. Journal of Gambling Studies, 32 (2). pp. 721-735. ISSN 1050-5350

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Loss-chasing is a central feature of problematic gambling, yet it remains a
poorly conceived and understood concept. Loss-chasing is believed to stem from an ero-
sion of cognitive control when gambling. The opportunity to gamble at significantly dis-
parate stake sizes on a gambling activity is considered to be a risk factor for loss-chasing.
This study investigated the impact of gambling at disparate stake sizes on executive
processes integral to maintaining cognitive control when gambling, namely response
inhibition and reflection impulsivity. Frequent adult non-problem gamblers (n = 32)
participated in a repeated measures experiment; and gambled at three disparate stake sizes
(£20, £2 and no stake per bet) on a simulated gambling task. Participants’ response
inhibition performance and reflection impulsivity levels after gambling at various stake
sizes were compared via a go/no-go task and information sampling task, respectively.
Quality of decision-making i.e. the evaluation of available information to make probability
judgements was impaired after gambling at higher stakes in comparison to lower stakes,
indicating an increase in reflection impulsivity. No effect on response inhibition was
observed. Although exploratory, this suggests that the opportunity for participants to
substantially increase stake size on a gambling activity may be a risk factor for impaired
cognitive performance when gambling, and perhaps create vulnerability for within-session
loss-chasing in some players.
Keywords Problem gambling -
Cognitive control -
Loss-chasing -
Response inhibition -

Reflection impulsivity

Keywords:Reflection impulsiviity, Response Inhibition, Loss-chasing, Cognitive control, NotOAChecked
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:18614
Deposited On:10 Sep 2015 10:32

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